Hansi Flick has tasted victory in 15 of his opening 18 Bundesliga matches in charge of Bayern Munich - a feat only Pep Guardiola has previously managed in the club's history.

Bayern beat second-placed Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in the behind-closed-doors Klassiker at Signal Iduna Park through Joshua Kimmich's outrageous first-half strike to move seven points clear at the top.

In doing so, the reigning champions made it seven Bundesliga wins in a row and 13 victories in their last 14 since losing 2-1 to Borussia Monchengladbach towards the end of last year.

That is one of only two losses for Bayern under Flick, who initially replaced Niko Kovac on a caretaker basis in November before taking over permanently last month.

Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig are the only other teams to have taken points off the league leaders during that period, winning 2-1 and drawing 0-0 respectively.

Guardiola, whose team won 16 of their opening 18 games in 2013-14 - drawing the other two, went on to enjoy three trophy-laden seasons at the Allianz Arena that saw Bayern win seven major honours.

Arjen Robben has described former Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola as the "master of offensive football" and says the Catalan is the best coach in the world.

Former Netherlands international Robben, who announced his retirement from football last July, spent three seasons playing under Guardiola during his decade with Bayern.

The 36-year-old was brought to Bavaria by Louis van Gaal and also worked with Carlo Ancelotti, Jupp Heynckes and Niko Kovac at the Allianz Arena, as well as Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

But Robben feels that Guardiola is the coach who helped him to improve the most, with the pair sharing the same ideology of how the game should be played.

"I love football and, above all, the offensive football – and Pep is a master at it," he told Socrates magazine.

"He focused on attack and total ball control. Of course, I particularly liked that. We were on the same wavelength.

"He made sure that I became more complete. For me, Pep is the best coach in the world. The three years with him in Munich were extremely instructive."

Robben joined Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009 and won 20 major honours, including a memorable Champions League triumph in 2013 when scoring a late winner against Borussia Dortmund in the final to secure the treble.

However, he was not sure at the time whether swapping Madrid for Bayern would be a good choice for him.

"Back then, my only wish was to win the Champions League and Bayern was not one of the top clubs in Europe," he said. "But I took the risk and it was worth it.

"It was really not an easy decision for me at the time. But going to Bayern was the best of my career in retrospect."

Joe Hart says he understands Pep Guardiola had to "make his stamp" after taking over at Manchester City and changing the goalkeeper, a development that impacted his career.

The 33-year-old is now back-up at Burnley, having had loan spells at Torino and West Ham since leaving the club with whom he won five major trophies.

Hart was firmly established at City since signing from Shrewsbury Town in 2006 and was the England number one.

But he immediately felt uneasy when former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola was appointed to much fanfare in 2016.

Initially replaced by Claudio Bravo, it is now Ederson in place for City between the sticks and Hart, who has struggled to recapture the same success he had in Manchester, conceded it is difficult to question Guardiola's record.

Asked if he and Guardiola had an open discussion before he moved to Torino, Hart told the Guardian: "Yeah, I made sure we had dialogue.

"I certainly backed myself to the hilt when we spoke. I listened to what he had to say. There's more to it than me not being as good with my feet as he wants from a goalkeeper.

"I realised he needed to make his stamp at City. He had a direction he wanted to go, and he's not exactly struggled since, has he?

"I was fairly concerned [when he was appointed]. Lots of important people tried to reassure me. But you just have a feeling, don't you?

"I came back late from the Euros [in 2016] and he made it clear when I got there that I needed to be out by that window.

"That's Pep's brilliance. He makes decisions and stands by them. I don't dislike him. We get on as men and we both love football."

Getafe came close to signing Lionel Messi on loan and appointing Pep Guardiola as coach, according to the club's president, Angel Torres.

Torres has had an effective working relationship with Joan Laporta, who was Barca president between 2003 and 2010.

The Getafe chief attempted to make the most of those ties by bringing Messi to the club on a loan spell during his first few seasons with the Catalans' first team.

Ultimately, head coach Frank Rijkaard stopped the move from taking place.

"In Messi's first or second year [in the first team], we came really close to bringing him to Getafe on loan," Torres told Marca.

"In the end, [Frank] Rijkaard didn't agree to it and we were left with just our desire."

As well as a failed attempt to sign the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Torres had also been keen to make Guardiola Getafe coach.

The intention was to swap him with Michael Laudrup, who was Getafe boss at the time, as Laporta was apparently unconvinced by Guardiola when he first stepped up from his role as B team head coach in 2008.

"One day, [former Barca sporting director] Txiki [Begiristain] was at a European draw in Switzerland and the idea was that Laudrup would go to Barcelona and we would get Guardiola as a replacement," Torres said.

"To start with, Laporta wasn't convinced by Pep at all."

Laporta's decision to stick with Guardiola paid dividends when Barca won the treble in his first season in charge, with Messi scoring the second goal in the 2-0 Champions League final victory over Manchester United.

David Silva has underlined his intention to leave Manchester City when his contract expires at the end of this season but acknowledges his next move is uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Spain playmaker Silva joined City from Valencia in 2010 and over the subsequent decade established himself as one of the club's finest ever players.

The 34-year-old has won four Premier League titles, five EFL Cups and two FA Cups – the first of which in 2011 ended City's 35-year trophy drought.

Before the start of the current campaign, Silva stated 2019-20 would be his final season in England.

Although his deal will now be extended beyond June 30 under special provisions for clubs to try to finish the schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he told AS that position has not altered.

"I will say one thing, I am moving forward. I am sorry, I have been here 10 years and I have fulfilled what I wanted," Silva said.

"The cycle closes here, but I will always keep this club in mind for everything I have lived. From the first moment people have treated me incredibly.

"Here they have a great respect for you, people give admiration towards you. Now my family and I need another challenge."

David Beckham's Inter Miami are among the clubs to have been linked with an interest in Silva, but the midfielder accepts the current climate has put finalising any future plans on hold.

"Everything is stopped. At the moment, nothing," he said.

"My family asks me and I answer that everything is stopped. We are training again and looking at places to be, 100 per cent.

"Friends send me messages about if I go to one side or the other but they know more than I do. I'm waiting for this to be fixed."

Beyond his playing career, Silva foresees a future in coaching and credits City boss Pep Guardiola for inspiring him in that regard.

"Guardiola always knows how the other team plays, how you have to attack them, to defend them," he said. "In the end, you work on the weak and strong points. That is why he is one of the best coaches there is.

"You learn a lot, always in terms of how to see the other team. It's like giving soccer classes, all tactical.

"Seeing that encourages you to start training when you leave soccer. Right now, it's my idea."

City collected a third consecutive EFL Cup in March and are poised to play an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle United if that competition is able to resume.

Liverpool are on the cusp of ending their two-year reign as Premier League champions, but Guardiola's men are well placed after establishing a 2-1 first-leg advantage over Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League – the only major honour to have eluded Silva during his time in Manchester.

"It is going to be a little weird," he said of the prospect of finishing Europe's top competition behind closed doors.

"We have to wait for them to tell us [what will happen] and try to [prepare] the best possible. Hopefully we can win it."

Manchester City's appeal against their two-year ban from UEFA competitions will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport between June 8-10.

The reigning Premier League champions were hit with the punishment in February after they were found to have committed "serious breaches" of UEFA's club licensing and financial fair play (FFP) regulations.

UEFA's independent Adjudicatory Chamber of its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) also fined City €30million (£27.2m) after finding they had overstated sponsorship revenues in accounts submitted to European football's governing body between 2012 and 2016.

City have persistently denied wrongdoing in relation to the matter, which stemmed from a series of articles published by Der Spiegel in November 2018, drawing on information purportedly obtained by the whistleblower Football Leaks.

"The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position," read a statement at the time from City, who UEFA said had "failed to cooperate" with the investigation.

Whether or not City are able to have their ban cut or quashed is likely to have a huge impact on their future planning.

Manager Pep Guardiola is out of contract in June 2021, although the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss reiterated his commitment in the aftermath of UEFA announcing their punishment.

"Unless they sack me, which can happen, I will not leave," he said. "Why should I? I love this club, I like to be here, and after we have seen the sentence [appeal] we will focus on what we have to do.

"I want to stay to continue to help the club and maintain this level as long as possible. That's not just because I have a contract, we want to fight to the end for the people who support this club."

In an interview with HLN this month, star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne suggested he might be happy to stay at City in the event of a reduction to a one-year ban, although a two-year Champions League absence would force him to consider his options.

"I'm just waiting," he said "The club told us they are going to appeal, and they are almost 100 hundred per cent sure they are right. That's why I’m waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team.

"Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, but in the case of one year I might see."

Despite winning six of the past seven domestic trophies on offer in England, Champions League success has proved elusive for City and a pause in trying to tackle that final frontier would be a considerable blow in financial and sporting terms.

In this season's competition, which was halted along with the rest of elite European football due to the coronavirus pandemic, goals from Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne gave them a 2-1 win at Real Madrid in the first leg of a last-16 encounter.

Bernardo Silva paid tribute to Pep Guardiola, labelling the Manchester City boss "one of the best managers ever".

Guardiola has led City to two Premier League titles, three EFL Cups, an FA Cup and two Community Shield crowns since his arrival in 2016.

The Spaniard, who has also enjoyed success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is widely regarded as one of the best managers of all-time.

Silva lauded the 49-year-old for his impact at the Premier League club, saying: "Personally, I have learned a lot not only from him, but all my team-mates, since I arrived at Manchester City.

"He is one of the best managers ever. It is great to have him with us."

Silva also praised Guardiola for transforming City's playing style, with his side earning 100 points to win the 2017-18 Premier League title in record-breaking fashion.

"I know my team-mates, the influence that he has since he arrived at Manchester City is huge," the Portugal international said.

"You could see it with the results, with the titles in the last three seasons. Since I have arrived, we have won plenty of trophies.

"It is not just that, it is the way we play. We think that we make our fans enjoy the way we play – offensive football, creating chances, scoring goals, [playing] attractive football."

Pep Guardiola improved Douglas Luiz by "70 per cent" despite the Brazilian working with the coach for just a few months across his time at Manchester City.

Douglas Luiz joined City from Vasco da Gama as a teenager in 2017 but was swiftly sent out on loan to Girona for the 2017-18 season, before returning to the Spanish side for the following campaign.

Those temporary moves came either side of a full pre-season Douglas Luiz spent with Guardiola and the City senior squad, while he also teamed up with them briefly ahead of his permanent move to Aston Villa last July.

Although Douglas Luiz's exposure to Guardiola's coaching methods was limited, he was still able to appreciate just how good the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich tactician is.

"I have no words to explain him," Douglas Luiz told Vasco TV. "He's a guy who is focused on football, his life is football.

"For me, he is the best coach in the world. In two months, the guy managed to evolve more than 70 per cent of my potential.

"I have a lot of affection for him, I thank him so much for everything he did. I feel very honoured to have this affection from a great coach, who for me is the best, for my football."

Despite a promising second season with Girona and training with City's first team, when an offer reportedly worth £15million arrived from Villa, Douglas Luiz's days at Etihad Stadium were over.

It came as a surprise to the midfielder and, while City inserted a buy-back clause in the deal, at Villa he feels he has found a home not too dissimilar to Vasco.

"I didn't expect to be sold, but I think God knows everything," he said. "I am very happy in this great club that, for me, is like Vasco.

"It has its 'cauldron' [stadium], it has a very passionate crowd for the club. It is a club that is recognised throughout the country, and I'm sure the club is very happy.

"There is a clause that Manchester City can buy me in those first two years."

Gabriel Jesus' goal deep into stoppage time at Southampton gave Manchester City a 1-0 win on the final day two years ago and brought up another landmark in the Premier League champions' stunning 2017-18 season.

Pep Guardiola leapt on to the St Mary's turf jubilantly to join the celebrations, in the knowledge his team had become the first in English top-flight history to reach 100 points in a single campaign.

City made a habit of breaking new statistical ground while turning what had promised to be a captivating title race into a procession – although a similarly dominant performance from Liverpool this time around means some of those best marks will be under threat as and when the Premier League resumes.

Here, we have a look at some of the most astonishing numbers from what proved to be the first of back-to-back title triumphs.

100 – City passed Chelsea's previous Premier League best of 95 points by beating Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 in their penultimate match. Adjusting Liverpool's efforts in the 1978-79 season to three points for a win, the overall record stood at 98 - a number City matched in 2018-19 when pipping Jurgen Klopp's Reds to retain the title by a point.

100 – Despite winning six previous league titles across spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola reached 100 points in a season for the first time in his career - surpassing 99 with Barca in 2009-10.

32 – No English team has won more games in a top-flight season than City in 2017-18. Their 16 away wins also represented a competition best. Liverpool's tilt at the latter mark might be ruled out by any Premier League restart at neutral venues this term, although six wins from their remaining nine games would take them to 33 victories.

18 – Beginning with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth on August 26, 2017, and concluded by a 1-0 triumph at Newcastle on December 27, 2017, City set a Premier League best of 18 consecutive victories. Liverpool matched this streak before losing 3-0 at Watford in February.

106 – Jesus' goal concluded the most prolific team season in Premier League history. Tottenham's 1962-63 Division One winners scored 111 times.

– City won the Premier League with five games to spare, equalling the efforts of Manchester United (1907-08 and 2000-01) and Everton (1984-85). This is a record Klopp's men were on course to surpass when this season's action paused.

1 – Guardiola was the first Spanish manager to win the Premier League.

19 – The gap between first and second in the final standings has never been bigger than the 19-point gap between City and Jose Mourinho's United. At present, City trail Liverpool by 25 points with a game in hand.

79 -  No Premier League side has ever had a larger positive goal difference.

Joan Laporta plans to enter the Barcelona presidential elections next year and wants Pep Guardiola to return if he is successful.

Laporta spent seven years as Barca president before stepping down in 2010.

A decade after relinquishing power at Camp Nou, the 57-year-old has set his sights on succeeding Josep Maria Bartomeu in 2021.

Laporta promoted an inexperienced Guardiola to the role of first-team coach in 2008 and that proved to be a masterstroke.

If Laporta has his way, the Manchester City boss will return to Catalonia.

He told Catalan station TV3: "I'm working to introduce myself as a presidential candidate.

"I've been president before and I'm excited to be back. The situation in 2021 will be dramatic and we'll have to reverse it. I'm working with people I trust."

He added: "I would very much like Guardiola to come back, but now he is at City and it is a decision that Pep should take. He is a benchmark for Barcelona and many Catalans would like him to train Barca again.

"At the right time, I will speak to the person we think should be a Barca coach from 2021."

Laporta suggested it may be too early for Xavi to take the Barca hotseat, which was only filled by Quique Setien in January.

He said: "Xavi is already a coach, he lives by football and it is he who must decide what his moment is.

"In 2021 there will still be players [at Barca] who were Xavi's team-mates, and he must think if he is prepared to lead former team-mates, which is not an easy thing."

Laporta added of the former Spain midfielder: "He is an honest man, he knows a lot about football and he will make the right decision, he will know what his time is to train Barca. I have not talked about Xavi on these issues."

Kevin De Bruyne may have to consider his Manchester City future should the club's two-season ban from the Champions League be upheld, though he has no immediate desire to leave the club.

De Bruyne has been in sensational form for City this season, though football seasons across Europe have either been placed on hold or cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Prior to the suspension of matches, De Bruyne played a starring role as City took a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid in the away first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

It remains to be seen whether City will be able to compete in UEFA's flagship club competition over the next two campaigns, with the club having been banned due to breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Pressed on whether the ban could impact his future at City, De Bruyne suggested a two-year suspension could lead to him considering his options, though he has faith in the club winning their appeal against the sanction.

"I'm just waiting," said De Bruyne in a video interview with HLN Live. "The club has told us that they are going to appeal and that they are almost one hundred percent sure that they are right. 

"That's why I'm waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team. Once the statement is made, I will review everything. 

"Two years [without European football] would be long, in the case of one year I might see.

"But I'm very happy with City. I play for one of the best teams in the world, play in England – for my competitive view the best competition – and I like that. 

"It remains a challenge to be the best and I need that too. What is coming is coming."

Pep Guardiola's future at City is also in doubt, with the former Barcelona boss' contract set to expire in 2021.

De Bruyne, though, refuted the suggestion a decision on his next move will depend on whether or not Guardiola remains at City.

"Not particularly. I think Pep says he will take his year of contract anyway, then his contract ends," De Bruyne said.

"But I'm not going to let my decision depend on what Pep is doing. Of course I have already worked with other coaches and when Pep leaves, I have to continue working with someone else. 

"But I haven't really paid much attention to that for the time being. There are more important things at the moment."

Reports emerged on Saturday claiming Roberto Martinez had extended his contract as coach of the Belgian national team, a move welcomed by De Bruyne.

"The choice was his. Maybe he would have done something different if the European Championship was played this summer. But we have a project, which is far from complete. Stopping now would be weird. It seems logical to me that he renews his contract," De Bruyne said.

"Everyone is happy to stay longer. Why is he a good coach? Well, Martinez has a lot of experience. 

"Tactically, he has learned a lot in England. He let us play in a fixed system, and that works. The team has grown in recent years."

Raheem Sterling believes he is 15 goals short of where he could be this season as he warned Manchester City have "another level to go".

It remains to be seen whether English football can resume amid the coronavirus crisis, or whether it will go the same way as the Netherlands, where the 2019-20 season has been abandoned.

Sterling's 20 goals in all competitions for City this term have maintained his consistent high level of contribution to Pep Guardiola's team, even though they have been left standing by runaway leaders Liverpool in the Premier League.

And the speedy forward is determined to step up whenever football returns, hungry for more success with last season's domestic treble winners.

Asked about where his game is, Sterling told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'd day probably about 15 goals off where I want to be, so those are the targets: to try to create good numbers, but not just numbers to have numbers.

"At the end of the day you want to have trophies to back up that season because 10 years from now, you can score a lot of goals, but if I can't look back at those goals being important for my team and having a great value then those goals were pointless."

City have banked the EFL Cup this season and were in the hunt for the FA Cup before the season was paused in March.

Sterling has come to appreciate the value of silverware as more than a pleasing accompaniment to his personal success.

"It's one of those - [you want] to try to contribute as much as I can but at the end of the season have medals to show for it," he said.

The England star said City are a team where egos are not rampant, adding: "We've still got another level to go.

"In my time at City, the most important thing I've learned is the value of winning. Before, if I won a game it was good, but if I lost a game you're disappointed but it doesn't burn you as much.

"But if we lose one game in 15 at Manchester City you wouldn't like to be in the dressing room - it's like the worst thing in the world's happened.

"That's the biggest thing I've learned since I've been there and it's something that I definitely carry with me, not just in football but in anything I do - that winning mentality."

The 25-year-old joined City from Liverpool five years ago and says the improved mental side of the game comes from working with former Barcelona head coach Guardiola.

"That's the number one thing I've taken from him," Sterling said.

Pep Guardiola is tactically the greatest but his man-management skills leave a lot to be desired and Cristiano Ronaldo is the undoubted best player in the world, according to Medhi Benatia.

Benatia spent two years playing under the tutelage of now Manchester City boss Guardiola at Bayern Munich between 2014 and 2016.

The experienced centre-back's time in Munich was stop-start due to issues with form and injury but he still won two Bundesliga titles and a DFB-Pokal.

Reflecting on working with Guardiola, Benatia told Goal there were positive and negative aspects playing for a coach regarded by many as the best in the game.

"Tactically he's the best coach in the world, I don't see one better than him," he said. 

"But I didn't like him very much in the relationship with the players, from this point of view he didn't drive me crazy.

"At the beginning I started well, I was the highest paid defender in the history of the Bundesliga and I was elected the best defender of the Serie A. A great club, the top. 

"The reason for the satisfaction linked to that adventure was that they chose me, Guardiola and [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge. 

"Unfortunately the injuries affected me and, honestly, I missed Italy very much. I did not adapt well and, after a complicated second year, I did everything to return to Italy."

Benatia cut short his time in Germany to return to Serie A, where he had previously represented Udinese and Roma, by agreeing to join Juventus on loan, which would later become a permanent move.

Guardiola has himself been heavily linked with taking over at Juve, but Benatia believes they already had a top-class boss in Maurizio Sarri.

"He is certainly the right profile, but in my opinion Sarri also has an excellent idea of football," he said. 

"This year, perhaps, has been a bit more complicated for Juve, but change always requires patience. And we must not forget that we are talking about a team still in the running to win everything.

"I don't think it is right to talk about other coaches at the moment, the Bianconeri have a good one."

Benatia departed the Bianconeri in January 2019 to join Qatari side Al-Duhail, just six months after Portugal superstar Ronaldo arrived from Real Madrid.

In that short time, Ronaldo made a big impression on Benatia, who added: "He is the absolute number one, as a footballer and as a person. 

"He is very intelligent, even outside the game rectangle. His brain is always faster than that of the others. I am happy to be his friend. I always wish him the best."

It was reported Benatia's exit was in part due to a falling out with former boss Massimiliano Allegri.

Benatia explained the situation from his side.

"Allegri is a great coach and he is a great person. I had no problems with him or anyone else. But he made me promises he didn't keep," he said.

"He told me that I would start with [Giorgio] Chiellini and that [Leonardo] Bonucci should have earned his place. Leo is a champion, but it was expected that I would start and, perhaps, at the first mistake he could have played another one in my place. 

"Things at that moment, they were doing pretty well. I had a brace in the Coppa Italia final and we were talking about contract renewal. After that, I found myself making four benches without playing even a minute.

"Then, apparently, Allegri had made fun of me; I started to lose my mind and I told him that I would never play for Juve again while he was the coach. 

"But I have an extraordinary relationship with the club we still feel [good] and I'm happy to have been able to work with these people."

Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman has described his former Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola as "the best coach" a winger can have.

Coman was brought to Bavaria, initially on a loan from Juventus, when Guardiola was in charge of Bayern in 2015 and became a key part of the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double-winning team in his first campaign.

The France international has worked with some of the game's leading coaches - including Didier Deschamps, Massimiliano Allegri, Jupp Heynckes, Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc - yet the 23-year-old identified Guardiola as the one who has had the most profound effect on his career.

"I would say Guardiola," Coman told Eurosport.

"He is the one who made me start playing a little more regularly even if I had played a few matches at Juve.

"For a player in my position, a winger who likes to hit and provoke, he is the best coach we can have because that is what demands us the most.

"He creates systems to have one-on-one situations and it's the system where I can flourish the most.

"He didn't ask me to have stats. He just asked me to take, hit and centre. And that was what I appreciated very much."

Injuries have blighted Coman's career in recent years and he only returned in February from a two-month absence due to a knee problem.

A thigh injury then meant Coman missed Bayern's three games before their campaign was halted by the suspension of competitions due to the spread of coronavirus.

The Bundesliga is eyeing a return to action in early May and Bayern's players were back training in small groups this week, much to Coman's delight.

"We had not touched a ball on a football pitch for almost a month and even if we're split in small groups it's a pleasure to play again and step onto a field that has goals," Coman said.

"We're doing technical work, at a safe distance from each other. It's a bit like the end of the close season when you resume training individually."

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga and beat Chelsea 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.

"We work, we work, and I hope we can finish the season otherwise all that work will have been for nothing," Coman added.

Pep Guardiola's mother has died aged 82 after contracting coronavirus, Manchester City have confirmed.

Dolors Sala Carrio passed away in Barcelona on Monday, with the club releasing a statement on their official Twitter account.

It read: "The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep's mother Dolors Sala Carrio in Manresa, Barcelona after contracting coronavirus. She was 82 years old.

"Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends."

Guardiola was reported to have returned home to Spain before the country was put on lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He made a €1million donation to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation last month, with a view to boosting investment in medical equipment in Catalonia.

Spain has been affected by COVID-19 more than any other European country, with over 135,000 confirmed cases as of Monday.

More than 13,000 people have lost their lives after contracting the virus, which emerged in China late last year.

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